On a recent trip to Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, my girl and I were faced with a serious dilemma… to climb or not to climb.
Surprisingly, the guides (local Australians… not Aboriginals) we met out there hadn’t climbed it, which I found incredible considering they spend a large portion of every day walking tourists around its base. Aside from the unenthusiastic guides, you’re also faced with a large sign at the bottom that reads:
“Our traditional Law teaches us the proper way to behave. We ask you to respect our Law by not climbing Uluru. What visitors call ‘the climb’ is the traditional route taken by ancestral Mala man upon their arrival at Uluru in the creation time. It has great spiritual significance. We have a responsibility to teach and safeguard visitors to our land. ‘The climb’ is dangerous and too many people have died while attempting to climb Uluru. Many others have been injured while climbing. We feel great sadness when a person dies or is hurt on our land.”
Yes we thought about it but as you can see from the photos below, we climbed it. We felt like the best way to learn about Aboriginal culture was to actually experience it. We wanted to walk in their shoes, or lack thereof, and do so with respect. By walking in the path of the Aboriginals we were able to appreciate the beauty, significance and power of this natural wonder.
I’m so glad we did.
We climbed the rock in the early morning of a perfect day. It was much more difficult than we’d expected and it took us a good hour to ascend but like most things in life that are challenging, it was well worth it. Like two lizards in the desert we lay up there completely alone, with our bare feet on the warm rock soaking it all in. They say Uluru is the heart chakra of Australia and I can now understand why. It was a surreal feeling to be up there and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get a little closer to Aboriginal Australia.
When I travel overseas I always aim to join the local culture but I often forget to do so when I’m traveling in Australia. Climbing Uluru allowed us to literally connect with the cultural center of Australia.
Here’s a little taste of the rock itself – and by the way, the shots below are raw images… no retouching, no colour grading.
As a side note, we stayed at Longitude 131 which is nothing short of amazing!